Fly Fishing For Chum Salmon
The Chum Salmon is also called the Dog Salmon. It's next to the largest species of Pacific
Salmon. They are not as good to eat as the other Pacific Salmon, and consequently, they
are not as popular with anglers. Some of the Chum salmon spawn in the Fall and some
spawn during the Summer. It seems the Fall runs are common in the southern part of the
Chum Salmon distribution range and the Summer runs more common in the northern part
of their range.
Summer spawning Chum Salmon usually run upstream between June and the first of
August. Most Fall run Chum Salmon spawn between September and December. The
timing has a lot to do with the rainy season. This helps the migration in streams that
otherwise may be low. The Summer run salmon often encounter low water conditions.
Warm water is also a problem at times.
The spawning Chum Salmon become very colorful. This gave them the nickname of
Calico Salmon. The Dog Salmon name came from the large teeth of the males when they
are spawning. They also have a very noticeable kype and dorsal hump.
Chum salmon can be caught on flies as they approach their spawning streams as well as
when they reach the freshwater. The normal steelhead wet fly swing doesn't usually work
well on the Chum Salmon. They prefer flies that are presented in a dead drift fashion.
Bright, colorful flies seem to attract them. It doesn't hurt to add some twitches to the fly. At
times, flies stripped rather fast will work. We think it's important to pause the strips.
It's a fact Chum Salmon can spawn in tidal waters or water that's slightly salty; however,
most of them make the long runs up the freshwater streams to spawn. The spawning
Chum deteriorate after they enter fresh water. This usually takes a few weeks. It seems to
depend on the particular river they spawn in.
Chum Salmon feed mostly on small fish at sea and mature between three to five years.
Like all salmon, Chum Salmon face many environmental problems but all in all, they seem
to do as well or better than the Sockeye, Coho and Chinook. Lost of habitat, barriers to
their migration and other issues have drastically affected the populations.
Copyright 2013 Tanner Leonard
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